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The Web Standards Project Applauds XHTML, Reminds Browser Vendors That Core Standards Come First

Released: 1 February 2000 | Author: Jeffrey Zeldman on behalf of The Web Standards Project

Furthering its mission to promote the adoption of standards for the Web, the Web Standards Project (WaSP) today announced its support for the W3C Recommendation for XHTML, and reiterated its message to browser makers that delivering complete support for existing standards— including XML, CSS, ECMAScript, DOM and HTML—remains Job #1.

“We congratulate the W3C for its leadership in developing standards for the Web. But our endorsement of XHTML should not be misinterpreted as an abandonment of our core issue,” said Jeffrey Zeldman, Group Leader of The Web Standards Project. “Until all Web browsers deliver 100% support for the core standards outlined in our mission statement, the Web will continue to fragment, site development will continue to be excessively costly, and people who use the Web will continue to be frustrated and excluded.”

XHTML – the Extensible Hypertext Markup Language – combines the traditional virtues of HTML with the flexibility and database-oriented functionality of XML, thus wrapping text and other data types in a single, extensible standard that embraces the needs of both content and commerce.

“W3C’s Recommendation for XHTML provides the critical and immediate link between HTML and XML,” said Sally Khudairi, a member of the WaSP Steering Committee. “With its extensible core architecture, XHTML enables site builders to develop more flexible Web pages and applications, as well as enhanced eCommerce functionality.”

Simon St. Laurent, another member of the WaSP Steering Committee, added, “XML’s strict rules for conformance give XHTML a backbone that HTML has never had, and promise to open up new possibilities for XHTML processing, storage, and creation as the standard spreads. It’s a big step forward.”

However, WaSP Steering Committee member Tim Bray cautions, “the important benefits of XHTML are unachievable without proper and complete implementations of CSS, XML, and the Document Object Model.”

“Some of these standards are five years old, and all of them were developed with the cooperation of the browser makers, who pledged to implement the standards they had helped to create. Web builders and Web users need these companies to keep their promise,” explained Zeldman. “The good news is, the browser companies have begun to fully implement some of these standards. We encourage them to continue, and not to become side-tracked by the promise of XHTML…which could end up yet another unfulfilled promise, if the original core standards are not supported first.”

Further information on XHTML is available at the W3C Website at

About the Web Standards Project [WaSP]

The Web Standards Project is an international grassroots coalition of Web developers and users fighting for standards on the Web, by calling attention to browser incompatibilities that fragment the medium, prevent many people from using the Web, and add 25% to the cost of developing all sites. The WaSP urges all browser manufacturers to support existing standards before incorporating proprietary innovations, and is working to educate Web authors and Web-related software developers so that we may create a Web that works for everyone. For more information on WaSP, please see

The Web Standards Project is a grassroots coalition fighting for standards which ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all.

All of the entries posted in WaSP Buzz express the opinions of their individual authors. They do not necessarily reflect the plans or positions of the Web Standards Project as a group.

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